fin-esse

finesse

[fi-ness]
noun
1.
extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
2.
skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management: exceptional diplomatic finesse.
3.
a trick, artifice, or stratagem.
4.
Bridge, Whist. an attempt to win a trick with a card while holding a higher card not in sequence with it, in the hope that the card or cards between will not be played.
verb (used without object), finessed, finessing.
5.
to use finesse or artifice.
6.
to make a finesse at cards.
verb (used with object), finessed, finessing.
7.
to bring about by finesse or artifice.
8.
to avoid; circumvent.
9.
to make a finesse with (a card).
10.
to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English: degree of excellence or purity < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fīnitia. See fine1, -ice


1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility.
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World English Dictionary
finesse (fɪˈnɛs)
 
n
1.  elegant skill in style or performance
2.  subtlety and tact in handling difficult situations
3.  bridge, whist an attempt to win a trick when opponents hold a high card in the suit led by playing a lower card, hoping the opponent who has already played holds the missing card
4.  a trick, artifice, or strategy
 
vb
5.  to manage or bring about with finesse
6.  to play (a card) as a finesse
 
[C15: from Old French, from fin fine, delicate; see fine1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

finesse
1528, from M.Fr. finesse "fineness, subtlety," from O.Fr. fin "subtle, delicate" (see fine (adj.)). The verb is first attested 1746.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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